Code 7 first struck me as a spooky, enthralling title that I thought I could pin down. You’re trapped on a space station. Malevolent AI. But Text-based? I really didn’t know what to expect.
First off, I wanna say that if you’re aiming to really get into the mood of Code 7, you’re gonna wanna turn the lights low, maybe turn off your second monitor, and sit at a desk if you really want to get into the roleplay. It’s a pretty miasmic game, one that draws you into its world, which is both natural for a game with so much dialogue, but also rather compelling when all you’re doing is reading and typing!
However, to say that is to diminish the work that has gone into expanding the core experience. You don’t just type responses, you’re at the helm of a computer, so you have access to system controls. You’ll be doing a little bit of basic programming alongside the story to activate lights, hack robots and help out your fellow characters.
Speaking of characters, I was pleasantly surprised by the voice acting in Code 7. Whilst you can’t really get much emotion out of a static face, the delivery of the lines throughout was impressive and gave the cyber punk story some well-needed oomph.
Code 7 reminded me often of Escape The Room games that I used to play on Newgrounds as a young one. Mainly because of how much it sets you free into its interface to just… figure it out. I enjoyed the brutality of knowing the entire framework of the computer and having to figure out where I should search in the database for access codes among other things. Playing as a hacker adjacent to the character you’re guiding allows for an interesting subversion of the typical gaming experience too.
One of my key takeaways was how much it made me feel like a hacker. Often in video games, you call upon the help of an ‘Alex’ to get you through a level, and they’re mainly there to pad the game up and maybe open a door. How interesting it is to find that when you’re actually on that side of the fence it is still fun, and you feel super useful. Watching my subject navigate the system map as I opened doors and provided them with aid was surprisingly rewarding. I was overriding elevators and searching audio logs in no time, and the atmosphere I felt during was palpable.
Tense moments arise meaning you have to type with speed to save your compadres, and there are a ton of fun interface screws designed to mess with your head. I won’t be spoiling anything, but the story so far is well written and intriguing, to say the least. If you enjoy William Gibson books or the wider ‘Hacker Sci-fi’ genre you will probably find something to love in Code 7.
If you’re a programmer or someone technically minded about computers, then maybe you’d find some fun here too, as it does scratch that itch in a meaningful way. Whilst the visuals are pretty bare bones, It’s fairly understandable to meet the aesthetic of the game.
Just as if you were at the helm of your very own space station terminal, you can actually change the settings to make the background colour different or alter the font size. Whilst ultimately just an aesthetic choice it’s a neat touch, and works to draw you into the interface much like Her Story or Emily is Away have done in the past.
The game is being released in an episodic structure, so right now you can pick up a season pass for the game much like a Telltale adventure. In a similar vein, there are also some plot points that force you to make a clear cut choice, meaning there will be long lasting effects to the narrative instead of a strictly linear story.
The two available episodes will keep you sated for about four hours, depending on how well versed you are. With more content on the horizon, the game is fairly cheap for the amount of content, and if you’re a big fan of text adventures in the first place, this feels like an honest growth within the genre to make it more than the sum of its sometimes repetitive parts.
I’ll leave you with a highlight; A character is trapped inside a computer and needs to alert their surroundings to their location so that they can escape by moving across the network. This involves a number of options, like ordering printer ink, recording and playing music, and digging for dirt in the host person’s emails. All of these things are terribly mundane actions that most of us do every day outside of a game, but within the environment of Code 7, it’s framed well to be fun and engaging thanks to a cool story and a fun interface. Code 7 is out now, on Steam. Give it a shot!
This copy of Code 7 was provided by the developers. Our Editor-In-Chief Jordan Oloman spent 5 hours living out his begotten Cyberpunk fantasies.